Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday (10/4) Update

Today went very well. We ended up having to stay another day/night since Nathan didn't pass the carseat test. I think it ended up being a good thing since we have nurses bringing us food, meds, and help 24/7. Nathan is doing great. He is feeding every 3 hours. We breastfeed for about 15 minutes and then he gets 20mL of pumped breastmilk in a bottle. Then I pump for about 15 minutes and store his next feeding plus extra in the fridge. My milk is really coming in now and I get more at each pumping session. I am happy about that because if I produce 2-3 times what Nathan needs at a feeding, we can start a nice stockpile of milk for later down the road.

I am starting to feel so much better. I am still taking the pain meds because I don't want the pain to get out of control, but my pain is probably no more than a 2 or 3 on a scale of 10 (mostly 0-1). I am physically healing perfectly.

As far as emotionally, I have had some rough moments. There are things that just get me going and I can't stop (which everyone says is good and I should get it out whenever I need to). I am sure I will post more on this later, but for now we are just dealing with things as they come.

We are looking forward to going home tomorrow, even though we will miss the hospital. We've had the best nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors.

Tonight I handled a feeding all by myself without waking Lee up. I got everything setup (Boppy, bottle of breastmilk, and pumping supplies), woke Nathan up, changed Nathan's diaper, nursed him for 15 minutes (great nursing session), fed him his bottle, got him swaddled, pumped for 15 minutes, made bottles for the next feeding sessions, and cleaned up all the bottles/supplies. I am really proud of myself.

I am off to bed. Goodnight! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Update on Ashley and Nathan

Yesterday went really well. I am doing really good considering I had a c-section roughly 30 hours ago. I have gotten off of the catheter (YAY for going to the bathroom), off of my IVs (YAY for not having a huge thing to push around and tubes all over the place), and off of the liquid diet (YAY for real food). I am on pain meds as I know from experience that they are necessary. I am able to get up, stand up, sit in a chair, walk around, and basically can do most things. I am planning to take a real shower tomorrow (Sunday) and put on some of my cute post partum PJs. It will feel nice to feel even more human.

Nathan had a great day. He has been eating every 3 hours. We worked with a lactation consultant to get my started pumping and to get Nathan started nursing. He had a few good nursing sessions today (YAY!). We are basically nursing him for about 15 minutes on one side, giving him about 15ml of formula, and then I pump to help get that supply going. It's going really well. I am hoping that soon my milk will come in and he can mainly take that (eventually only take that).

He is just beautiful and so sweet. I am so thankful for how well he is doing considering he was only 35 weeks. I am enjoying every minute of holding him, singing to him, rocking him, feeding him, and just loving on him.

Tomorrow (Sunday), will be our last full day at the hospital and we will all come home on Monday. I am so thankful for the awesome nursing staff. They have taken such amazing care of me and Nathan. They have also been so sweet and sensitive to everything going on with our loss of Alexis. We couldn't ask for a better set of doctors and nurses.

Our family and friends have been amazing, whether here in person, over the phone, and/or over the Internet. It has been so awesome knowing that there are tons of people praying for us, sharing their messages of comfort and excitement for us, and just loving on us. We are truly blessed.

And of course, God is there always. He never leaves us or forsakes us. I know that He has a perfect plan for everything and that is probably the only thing that has kept me going. Lee and I (and our family) have had our joys and excitement over Nathan and our sadness and pain over Alexis. It comes in waves. I plan to write more about how I am doing with Alexis' loss, but I don't have the words to put together an articulate post right now. I'll just say that it is hard, and sometimes I completely lose it, but through it all we have God, our family, and friends and that makes it bearable.

Thank you all!

Arrival of Our Twins & Departure of Our Sweet Baby Girl Alexis

As most of you know, we went in for our routine 35 week ultrasound Friday. Everything looked great for our son, Nathan. He measured big and had a great heartbeat. When we went to check our daughter, Alexis, she was measuring smaller than we expected and we didn't measure a heartbeat. We thought that was strange but the ultrasound technician sent us to a room without telling us anything (they have to wait for the doctor to do that).

As we waited I had this overwhelming feeling that something wasn't right as we have always seen and heard a heartbeat. I immediately prayed that whatever news we heard, God would be there to comfort us. I really just thought that maybe she wasn't growing as good and that we might have to have them early since we had discussed possible things that can warrant earlier delivery. When the doctor came in, she said, "I have some bad news." Immediately my heart sank. She said, "Baby B doesn't have a heartbeat and has passed away." At first they said it was Nathan, but I knew Baby B was Alexis. We were in limbo for a minute, but we found out it was definitely Alexis.

I immediately cried uncontrollably. I was completely overwhelmed with grief. I have to say that in the 9 years I have known Lee, I have maybe seen him shed a few tears a handful of times. To say he was overcome with grief is an understatement. We discussed going ahead and delivering Nathan. I will say that even though I was overwhelmed and my heart ached, I knew that God had His hands on Nathan and that everything would be great with him. Lee and I called our family and wept in the room until we could compose ourselves enough to leave and head home to get our stuff so we could head to the hospital.

We got to the hospital and they monitored Nathan and he was doing great - great heartbeat, very active. They scheduled my c-section for roughly 5:00pm since I had something to eat at 9:00am. The c-section went beautifully. I kept focusing on Scriptures that were encouraging. It took a while since I have had a c-section before and had a good amount of scar tissue, but at 5:45pm I heard the greatest sound in the world, Nathan crying. Immediately came the tears. At that point I was still hoping and praying that maybe the tech was wrong and I would hear my precious Alexis cry. Needless to say, I didn't. The nurse came and told me that Alexis was beautiful and looked just like Nathan. Lee brought Nathan over to me and I got to love and kiss on him. He is so beautiful and I believe he looks just like Daddy's baby pictures. I opted not to see Alexis at that time as I knew that would be too much to handle while still finishing up my c-section.

We got everything finished up and I went to my room under the impression that Nathan would be in the NICU until 10:00pm (4 hours for observation). Well, he was doing so great that he came out in about an hour. I was thrilled. I couldn't wait to hold and kiss him. Lee and I had some time with him and then Luke came in and then family came in in groups. It was amazing having this precious heathy baby boy and enjoying him with our family.

Lee and I wanted to see Alexis and hold her and let our family have some time with her before we sent her to the morgue, but she didn't look good and it was too much for me to take, so I only saw her for a quick second and they went ahead and took her. I want to remember her from the sweet ultrasound pictures and active kicks in my belly for the past 35 weeks. They did give us a box with her footprints and some of her special items (blanket, hat, bracelets). I know we will cherish it forever.

That night went really well. We had Nathan go to the nursery for a few hours so we could sleep and he could be well taken care of. He was eating about every 3 hours (he was taking formula). We are working on nursing, pumping, making bottles, and giving him formula. He is doing really well. He had an APGAR of 9 and the only thing he has had a tough time with was his body temperature regulation, but we got that under control. He is so beautiful. I can't stop looking at him.

I am doing great. This c-section is nothing compared to the last one I had with Luke (I think not laboring for 26 hours might be part of that). I have been able to get up and sit in a chair. I got all the hospitally stuff off (IVs, etc). I was on a liquid diet until last night, but I got to have a yummy dinner tonight.

We are just so thankful for our God, our family, and our friends. God is everpresent and will take us through this. Our family is amazing and is always here for us. Our friends are incredible and their messages have been so encouraging. We appreciate all the prayers, comments, and support. We can't express it enough.

Here is the Scripture I've been meditating on (thanks Krisanne!)

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." - Isaiah 43:2

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Just Can't Wait to Meet These Babies

Sometimes I get this overwhelming feeling of, "I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET THE BABIES!!!" Well, I just got it. I really love being a mom and can't wait to get a promotion to three kids. Luke has been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I can't wait to have 2 more blessings. This pregnancy has been so amazing, carrying two little miracles, feeling them grow and their movements each day. I can't wait to hear their first cries, hold them for the first time, hug and kiss on them, see Lee become a daddy again, and see Luke become a big brother. It is so amazing! To say that God has blessed me would be an understatement. I pray that I can show Him everyday just how thankful I am for these blessings.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Procardia --> Feeling Better --> Nesting

So I have been taking Procardia for almost 2 weeks and last Thursday my OB doubled the dosages since I was still having painful contractions. I seriously didn't think it was ever going to help since I had contractions all weekend. Well I woke up on Monday and felt pretty good. I rested all day and was able to make a huge dinner - Salisbury Steak and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, green peas, corn, and homemade apple pie for dessert. It took me about an hour and a half to cook and clean up. It was tasty and well worth the effort.

Well I thought it was a fluke until I woke up this morning and felt great. I changed the linens on our bed and Luke's bed, started laundry, and cleaned our bathroom (all before coming downstairs for breakfast). I made myself an egg white veggie omelet. I put away a ton of dishes from last night's dinner. Then during Luke's naptime, I scrubbed the kitchen (including the refrigerator), scrubbed the guest bathroom, reorganized and purged stuff from the pantry, vacuumed the first floor (even took the wand out and got the nooks and crannies). I've been rebooting laundry all day as well.

I would say that I am in the nesting phase. Of course that could mean the babies are coming anytime or won't come out until the scheduled c-section date (3 1/2 more weeks). We'll see, but it feels great to feel great and be able to do things that I normally do. I feel somewhat human again. Of course I will probably be resting the rest of the night. :)

Weight Loss Plans

Well I've gotten to the point that I am the biggest I've ever been (even bigger than I was with Luke which I swore I never would be). I started out this pregnancy 30 pounds heavier than I started out my pregnancy with Luke (I was overweight starting out with Luke as well). I am really proud of myself though because I haven't gone nuts, have drank a ton (literally) of water, and have managed to only gain 28 pounds at 34 1/2 weeks. My goal was no more than 35 and I am pretty sure I will do that (if I do gain more, I would imagine it will be water retention this late in the game).

That being said, I imagine the day I go to deliver the babies I will be roughly 90 pounds overweight. YUCK! I am more realistic this time and my goal is to get down to 155 not 140. So, I've already started thinking about what I plan to do to lose the baby weight plus the weight I needed to lose before I got pregnant.

Here's my plan (I know it might not all work out like this):

In the beginning, since our lives will be so crazy, my goal will be to drink a lot of water (will also help with breastfeeding), eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied (not full), and aim to eat something every couple of hours (not wait until I am starving). I am not really going to worry about what I am eating as a lot of the food will be out of my hands (others bringing us meals). I will focus more on listening to my body and watching the portions. Of course I will aim to get in fruits, veggies, dairy, lean proteins, and whole grains as much as possible. And I will not be woofing down junky stuff. I am hoping that with breastfeeding and just losing the initial weight (babies, placentas, fluid), I will lose a decent amount. I am pretty much planning to do this until the babies sleep good at night and we get on a schedule.

Once the babies are sleeping good at night (Luke did 12 hours at 3 months old and did great pretty much after about 5 weeks) and we have some sort of schedule, I am planning to officially start Weight Watchers. When Luke was a baby, I joined the meetings and I found that to be a huge part of my success. I am not sure if I will do meetings yet, but would definitely like to if it would work out. Either way, I will be following the POINTS system since I know it works, it's easy to keep up with, I can eat anything I want (as long as it fits into my plan), if I am still breastfeeding I get extra POINTS, and when I start working out I get extra POINTS. I LOVE WW POINTS!!! I am really hoping to start after New Year's as I think that is an attainable goal. Hopefully when I start I will already have off the pregnancy weight and just be working on the weight I need to lose before I got pregnant.

I am really hoping to start working out once the babies are sleeping through the night consistently. I don't plan to do it before that because I will be worn out enough and don't want to exhaust my body even more (that can really slow weight loss and could hurt my milk supply). When Luke was a baby I joined a great gym with awesome childcare when he was 2 months old and went 4-5 times a week with no problems. This time, I have 2 babies and a 5 year old so it will be a lot more work to get to a gym (get everyone ready, load everyone up, drive, drop everyone off, workout, pick everyone up, drive home, unload everyone - not to mention behavior/diaper changes during the workout time).

I am going to see how working out at home goes first because I could workout without all the added time of getting there and getting home (over an hour) plus the worries. I am hoping that when the babies nap in the morning, I can get Luke to play in the playroom with a TV show and do the elliptical for a half hour. That's my starting plan, mostly cardio. I would love to do this 3-5 times a week.

Once I get in some sort of routine, I will add light weights and ab work. When Spring comes, I am hoping to get out the double jogger stroller and start intervals of jogging and walking. Lee also wants to get bikes for Christmas so that would be a great workout. My goal is to eventually be able to do my higher intensity workouts and get my body back where it was 3 years ago.

I realize that these are probably lofty goals and I will definitely adjust as needed, but I always think it's better to have a plan. Otherwise, come next Summer, I'll still be walking around saying, "I should lose this weight."

I don't have a deadline as I have a lot to lose and am pretty much starting from the worst I've been (minus the knowledge I have from last time) and will have a lot of work to do to get a fit body. It took almost 2 years with Luke so I would imagine at least 18 months. I am fine with however long it takes as long as I am working at it each day and making progress. It's worth it. I am planning to start another blog (yes I love blogging) devoted to my weight loss journey.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Top 11 Tips for Twin Pregnancy

#1 - Hydrate
When pregnant with twins, you need more water than with a singleton (which is more than you need when not pregnant). My goal each day was 12-15 glasses of water.

Ways to Stay Hydrated:
Drink a tall glass of water right when you wake up
Drink a tall glass of water with each meal and snack
Keep a 16-24 oz bottle of water with you at all times and drink

#2 - Rest
All expecting moms need lots of rest, but when you are carrying multiples, you need even more. My goal each day was to really listen to my body and rest as needed. I always rested during my son's naptime (roughly 3 hours), after dinner until bedtime, and during the day as I felt I needed it. At the end, I pretty much rested all day. If you are tired, take a nap or go to bed earlier as you don't sleep as good at night (especially at the end). Let others help you with housework and errands.

#3 - Take Your Prenatals and Any Other Supplements Your Doctor Recommends
I took my prenatal vitamin everyday and I know it helped the babies and me to get those missing nutrients. When I got further along, my doctor had me on Vitamin D to prevent pre-term labor. I never missed a dose. Figure out a consistent time to take them and buy an extra bottle (or make a baggie) to keep in your purse so you never miss them.

#4 - Register Early
As soon as you find out the genders, go start your registry (some people even do it earlier but I didn't want to have to do it twice). I started mine in the store and did a lot online when I got home. It was exhausting even at 18 weeks, so don't put it off. Have an organized list (I put mine on here) and that will make it a lot faster. The more work you do ahead of time, the less running around the store.

#5 - Get the Nursery Ready Early
Again, as soon as you find out the genders, get going on the nursery. If you have the basics (crib, furniture) setup and the room painted/decorated, it will make it easier when you have your showers and have a lot of stuff to prepare. My goal was to have it done before the 3rd trimester.

#6 - Have Your Shower(s) Early
I highly, highly recommend having your shower(s) early. You get what you need and have enough energy to put it away, wash baby stuff, etc. You won't be as big and uncomfortable so you can enjoy it. And, you (hopefully) won't be on bedrest so you can attend. Again, my goal was to have my showers before the 3rd trimester.

#7 - Pack Your Hospital Bags Early
I didn't do mine until 34 weeks (4 weeks before my scheduled c-section) and it was fine, but I would recommend doing it as early as possible. If you don't actually pack the bag, get all the stuff you will need and have it laid out (pack if possible) and have a list of what to pack (personal care items) next to it so you can pack quickly.

#8 - Never Hesitate to Call Your Doctor
There are a lot more things that can go wrong or happen earlier with a twin pregnancy. If you have any concerns, call your doctor. Some people don't and they are in pre-term labor. It's better to go and be perfectly fine, then to not and have a problem.

#9 - Follow Doctor's Orders
Again, there are a lot more things to watch for and be careful of when pregnant with twins. Do whatever your doctor says (whether it be take a specific medicine, rest, pelvic rest, drink more water). They know what they are talking about.

#10 - Be Prepared for 1 Million Questions/Comments
When you are pregnant with twins, you will get a ton of questions/comments, some friendly, some annoying, and some down right rude. Just know you will be getting them, figure out some simple responses, and pray that you can be nice no matter what. I've had to bite my tongue a lot (more with comments than questions). From what I've heard, it just gets worse when the twins are actually born and you take them out in public.

#11 - Stock Up on Diapers, Wipes, and Any Other Baby Needs You Can
I had 2 diapers/wipes showers and got a ton of diapers and wipes (and other baby bottom needs). I also started couponing and watching for good deals on them about half way through. My goal is to get diapers for 10 cents each. We set up a shelf in a closet and just collected all sizes. My hope is that we won't have to get them too much and when we do, we always get them on sale and use coupons. My favorite places to get diaper deals are CVS and Rite Aid.